Trump Calls Trudeau `Great Friend' as Nafta Tension Remain High

Trudeau turns attention to Mexico in midst of tensions over NAFTA

Canada and Mexico want their companies to be able to bid on more USA federal and state government contracts, but this is at odds with Trump's "Buy American" agenda.

"It is possible that we may not be able to hear us with one or the other of the two countries", said the billionaire Donald Trump in front of reporters in the oval Office before the meeting between the two leaders. In a speech Tuesday in Mexico City, Thomas Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, vowed: "We're going to fight like hell to protect the agreement".

Trump even said that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) can be scrapped to make the bilateral deal, leaving out Mexico.

Asked about Trump's comments at a news conference later, Trudeau said he was still optimistic about the chances of modernizing the 1994 trade pact. "Nafta has benefited millions of people and can benefit millions more", Trudeau said, although he added that Nafta could use a "much-needed upgrade".

U.S., Canadian and Mexican negotiators are meeting in Arlington, Virginia, this week for a fourth round to try to revise the 23-year-old agreement, which allows the tariff-free flow of vehicles and parts across the three borders. Reuters-London reports Britain could join a formal trade alliance with the United States, Canada and Mexico if the European Union refuses to finalize a post-Brexit trade deal by 2019.

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"There's been huge investments in Canada, the US and Mexico, that are long-term assets", said Don Walker, chief executive officer of Magna International Inc. a Canada-based parts maker with more than 25,000 employees in the U.S. Still, to this day, President Trump has seemed more interested in placing "poison pills" and renewing reckless threats to withdraw entirely from this mutually beneficial trade agreement, rather than working with our worldwide allies and neighbors to find solutions that directly aids American production and labor.

"The Canadian and Mexican strategy will be to take a pause", he says, and "allow the US domestic process to play itself out" with business and farm groups and many lawmakers rising to defend NAFTA. He said "it would not be the end of the world". Raising Mexican wages is one U.S. negotiating objective, a U.S. Trade Rep's fact sheet says, along with eliminating the ISDS. "But for the love of God don't do any harm to something that has been so economically beneficial to states all across America".

United States proposals include limiting the number of federal government contracts that Mexican and Canadian companies can win, a provision that would cause the deal to automatically expire in five years unless all three countries vote to renew, and changes in how much of a product needs to be made in North America to come under Nafta protections. NAFTA requires at least 62 percent of a car's parts to be made in North America before the auto can avoid import tariffs and taxes. On the campaign trail, he called NAFTA a job-killing disaster. "We have a tough negotiation, and it's something you will know in the not too distant future". "Any trade proposal that makes multinational corporations nervous is a good sign that it's moving in the right direction for workers".

"When North America wins, America wins, and the American people win as well", he said. Washington is an incredibly complex mechanism in which the president doesn't always get his way.

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